A Poem called Pandemic and other thoughts

I haven’t written much this month. With everything going on in the world, taking the time to write a post each day seemed almost self absorbed. I wanted to keep my family close and focus on helping them and others in my community. This week I’ve started to feel that our new, stay-at-home normal has reached the point of equilibrium and I have some mental space to start writing again.

What I have been doing a lot this month is reading. Sites like Brain PickingsRaptitudeBarking up the Wrong Tree, and Farnam Street have helped a lot. I hope something of what I write helps others in the way these writers (and many others) have helped me.

Steven Pressfield shared this excellent poem by Lynn Ungar. It’s so good I want to pass it along to you. I hope during this time of disruption we can find positive change as we reach out to each other with our hearts.


What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

Chris Shephard put together a beautiful virtual choir version of the poem with music by Martin Sedek.

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The Joy of Morning Walks

Walking is such a natural act, but many people don’t do much of it. This isn’t (necessarily) because we’re lazy. Some places aren’t well situated for frequent walking. If that’s true for you it’s still worth creating the time to walk. Walking without music, podcasts, or headphones provides a perfect environment for inspiration.

This morning it was 37ºF (3ºC) when I started walking. It took a few minutes for my joints to warm up, then everything else did too. Listening to the birds, watching the squirrels, and saying hello to fellow walkers took up a bit of the walk, but most of the time was calm and quiet.

I planned for a department meetup. Marketing ideas bubbled and stewed. Concepts from a book resurfaced with ways to apply them.

As the sun came out it warmed everything up nicely. I watched a dog play in a creek, saw a squirrel make an impossible jump, and even ran across some deer.

By the time I received my first notification on my phone the day was planned and it was time to turn around and head for work.

So much of our life is spent rushing. Make time for a walk. When you have uninterrupted time to think amazing things happen.

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